29 May 2009

Movie of the Week

Do you ever feel like your life is a movie? I don't mean in a megalomaniacal, delusions of grandeur sort of way. I mean in the "I couldn't make this shit up if I tried, but this is my life" way.
Let me tell you about my movie-of-the-week day. I can't even make an attempt at being witty or "writerly", I'm so thrown by this!

My day began simply enough. Imagine me, your sassy heroine, bounding (ok, crawling) out of bed early in the morning, eagerly anticipating the arrival of The Frenchman. The Frenchman is a gorgeous ballet dancer and choreographer who is visiting for two weeks--- which happens to be the perfect length of time for an affair with a Frenchman.
Then, the montage: the sassy heroine tosses clothes and shoes into a closet, vacuums, madly scrubs a bathroom, then carefully chooses an outfit and does her make up just so.
And then...she waits. And waits.
All dolled up, and wound up, and still no Frenchman.

I'm a busy girl! I had things to do and places to be!
I was quickly going from giddy to grumpy, and I got a phone call from The Chicano, who happens to be a Tuvan throat-singing champion; one of the top three according to the judges of an International symposium last year. He offered to keep me company and run some errands with me, including a quick trip to the bank.
Just a quick jaunt up the street to cash a check, then milkshakes at Moonstruck. It was a perfect day for it, sunny and warm.

And then...

I arrived at the small local WaMu branch, which was garishly advertising its conversion to Chase bank. I had a WaMu check and they wouldn't cash it.

"We're Chase now. You could use it to open an account with us." the teller suggested.
No thanks.
I walked to where my friend sat, making faces at him as I went. I started to tell him, when...
I heard the blast of an air-horn as the door opened.

Just like that, my day went from romantic comedy, to bank heist movie.

He wore a gold mask which covered the top half of his face. It was duct-taped to his hoodie. He was very calm as he told us to get down on the ground on one side of the room, and informed us that he was carrying a very large explosive device.
The Chicano and I were right by the door and as we locked eyes I know we both briefly considered bolting, since the robber was already walking toward the tellers. We hesitated for a few seconds, then walked toward the corner he had indicated. The other few customers followed. One of the girls had been there to make what looked like a business drop, and as she set her things down, a sizable pile of cash spilled out onto the ground at my feet. Ack!
"I don't want that in front of me, I don't want that in front of me..." I muttered.
"I'm so sorry!" she whispered back, as she grabbed it and tucked it away.
We huddled there watching the robbery unfold.
My friend grabbed my hand and I could feel him start to run energy. Ah, something familiar! It helped to gound me, and I started sending out Reiki as well.
The robber went down the line of tellers, demanding large bills--- hundreds, fifties, twenties...all the cash form the tills and the reserve cash.
He was calm, methodical and efficient. As he reached the last teller I actually got a little scared. I heard the teller stammer out "That's it, that's all I have!"
"I want all of it! Where's the manager?"
The manager walked over and they exchanged a few terse words, the manager insisting all the while he had been given everything there was.
"I have small bills..." the teller offered.
"Large bills only."
The manager stepped in again. "Sir, that's all of it."

"Tell the police I do have a large explosive device and not to follow me." And with that, he walked to the door, then took off running up Burnside toward Washington Park. One of the loan officers sitting by us, jumped up to watch him through the window.

"There goes the dye pack! Good job, guys!...oh, he dropped his pack...oh, he's running up toward the park!"

In the meantime, one of the other employees had locked the door. After making sure we were all ok, we were told we'd have to wait and talk to the police and the FBI.

"So much for milkshakes!" I told my friend. We settled in to wait for the circus to begin. And we sat, and we sat...
"Where are the sirens? The SWAT teams?" I asked.
"Batman crashing through the window...!" my friend chimed in.

"Is everyone alright?" We blinked at her. She was all business, all 5'4" of her, as she walked through the bank, checking in with everyone. I should have been relieved by the police uniform, but--- I hadn't even heard a siren. I wasn't the only one thinking it, because one of the bank employees sitting near us ventured: "Uhm, is anyone else coming?"

She must get that a lot.
She did not look amused.
"The police are here." she replied sternly "They are searching the park with dogs."

While we waited to give our statements, we chatted with some of the employees and got to learn all about dye packs and how common bank robberies actually are. Normally, however, one would never know, until asked to give police a statement. The take-over style robbery we had just experienced is rare.

In order to speed things along, the female officer took my statement and my friend's. Just as I finished giving mine, the FBI arrived. I have to say, I was glad I wouldn't have to talk to them. "I had a chat with the FBI" is not something I've ever wanted to have on my list of things I've experienced. Of course, neither was a Hollywood style bank robbery, but what's a girl to do.

I got my milkshake and went to meet up with people who were expecting me. I had texted to say "I am running late. Have to talk to the FBI about a bank robbery I just witnessed". When I met up with my party just in the nick of time, one woman at the table commented "That's either the biggest lie, or the best excuse for being late I've ever heard." I wanted to slap her!

Overall, I think I handled it the way I do everything else...just stay alert and take it all in. If I don't die, it's blog material.

The next day I had to cash another check at another bank. It wasn't until I approached the teller that I felt my heart start to beat just a little faster.
"I need to cash this check, and no I don't have an account here." I said by rote.
"Would you like to remedy that today?" she chirped.

I glared at her.

"Lady, I'm not too excited about banks in general right now."
She was taken aback. "Why is that?"
I told her about the robbery.
"Oh, I'm so sorry..." she began.
"Yeah, if you don't mind, I'd like to get the hell out of here as quickly as possible."
She stared at me for a second then hurriedly counted out my money.

Just another day in the life of The Infamous CoatCheck Girl.


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